After an incredibly warm autumn, there’s no doubt that winter has well and truly arrived here in Sydney. With the cold winds and shorter days, you will have felt your energy change and draw inward over the past few weeks.

As I spoke about in this blog post, the season of winter is our nighttime.  This time of deep rest allows complete healing and rejuvenation, so we burst into spring whole, fresh, vibrant and full of life.

We step back, slow down, and start to embrace solidarity.
As we slow down, we become more aware; we notice things we haven’t previously, and we are more in tune with our emotions.

Use this time, and the cover of winter darkness, as an opportunity to connect deeply and to explore your inner world. Start to strengthen your connection to your intuition; the innate wisdom that is present in all of us, the wisdom we have been taught to ignore. What do we most need to move forward in our lives? Are we living on purpose, and if not, what can we do to start aligning ourselves?

Can you find 10 minutes every day to commit to a meditation practise? Maybe 5 minutes in the morning, and 5 minutes again at night? Sit still, breathe deeply, and just feel what’s going on inside you. Can you feel your heart beating in your chest? Can you feel your blood flowing through your veins? Leant to just ‘be’. No objective, no outcome, no agenda, just be still and focus on your body and your breath.

If you’re new to mediation, you might find this really challenging (I definitely did!), however there are thousands of mediation tracks and tools you can download to help you. I personally love this one from Deepak Chopra, as you can personalise your experience. No excuses now, little one!

If you haven’t already, begin your daily journaling practice, and use this as a way to ‘check in’ with whatever is going on for you. If you – like me a few years ago – own lots of beautiful journals but haven’t found it in yourself to actually write something in them, use the following questions as a guide;

  • What is the biggest thing on my mind right now?
  • What do I need to do about that?
  • How did I feel today and why?
  • What are these feelings here to teach me?
  • What were my thoughts today?
  • Where am I not loving myself?
  • Where am I loving myself?
  • What does my most vulnerable part need right now?
  • What 3 things am I most grateful for today?

Set yourself a goal of 3-5 pages per day and keep going until you’ve filled them up. You might find it a little challenging at first, but stick with it, and the words will soon start to flow.

Winter is also a fantastic time to do, or re-do, your vision board. Grab a group of friends, a stack of magazines, scissors, cardboard and glue, and start cutting! Collect images of all the things you want for yourself and your life for the next 6-12 months, make a beautiful collage and hang it up where you can see it everyday.

Our exercise program will inevitably slow down now; but it’s important to not become lazy. Find fun, gentle ways to move your body everyday; hot yoga is awesome at this time of year, or grab a jacket, a girlfriend and get out for a walk.

Include plenty of soups, stews, roasts and curries, as our bodies crave the warmth and nourishment these foods bring. I currently have lamb shanks cooking away in my slow cooker, cannot wait for dinner!

The increased cold can lead us to overdo it on coffee as we crave that heat and caffeine buzz, however this only depletes our adrenals and leads to fatigue, anxiety and exhaustion. Instead sip on hot ginger and lemon tea, or indulge in a decadent hot chocolate made with real cacao, maca, mixed spice and maple syrup. I like to add some fresh or dried chili for an extra kick!

Many people tend to use the cold as an excuse to overeat, so be aware of this desire and tendency. When you feel that, before you throw something in your mouth, ask yourself;

“What am I really hungry for?”

You might find you are craving warmth, love, connection or affection rather than actual food.  If that’s the case, acknowledge it and find a way to give that to yourself, rather than stuffing it down with food or drink.

Taking the time to slow down and turn inwards now will set you up for an amazing spring and summer. Give that gift to yourself.

Happy snuggling!

I will not ‘Should’ on myself today

If there was one word I could ban from the English language, it would be the word “should”.

“Why? What’s wrong with should?” I hear you ask.

Well, “should” is a shaming word. When we use it, we are saying we are wrong, that we are at fault. We are criticising and blaming ourselves for doing, or not doing the thing we are talking about. We make ourselves “bad”, or “less than enough”. By doing so, we commit to keeping ourselves stuck in the shame-pool, in the space of “not good enough”. We hand over our power, our energy, our sense of responsibility.

More often than not, when we get clear on our “shoulds”, we see they are things that we have been told by other people to take on. Most of the time, they aren’t even things that we care about, and yet we are expending a huge amount of energy shaming ourselves around that particular thing, or trying to force something that’s just not important to us.

How often have you said any of the following;

“I should exercise more”
“I should eat better”
“I should spend more time with my family”
“I should have more savings by now”
“I should have had children by now”
“I should go to bed earlier”
“I should care more/care less”
“I should do that thing, or this thing”
….and so on and so on…

Go through this list, and say the ones out loud that apply to you. How does that make you feel? Pretty yucky, right?

 So what do we do instead?

We simply replace it with a better word. A word that gives us an option. A word that gives us the power to choose if it’s something that’s actually important to us, and whether or not we want to do it.

Take out a piece of paper, and at the top write “I Should” and then finish this sentence as many different ways as you can (aim for at least 5)

Once completed, look back over your list and for each point ask yourself “Why? Why should I do that? Is this something that is actually important to me?”

For all the ones that aren’t, you can just go ahead and cross them straight off your list and forget about them. Yay!

Then, for all your remaining ones, re-write your list, replacing the word “should” with the word “could”. Read these out loud, one by one. Notice how that feels within you. Notice how it gives you back your power; it gives you a choice. Notice how it opens you up.  Feel the freedom that comes from that choice, and go and do whatever it is that makes you lights you up.

Every morning, look in the mirror and repeat after me; “I will not should on myself today” and don’t. Easy.

You’re welcome